Curriculum and Learning Experiences
I would like to see a good balance, and by that I mean about 50/50 of structured, knowledge, content, skill, and thinking education alongside transdisciplinary, project-based, place-based, passion project learning. I believe there are a lot of things students can acquire in regard to skills and knowledge, and these skills, for lack of a better word, are enhanced by being put to use. To these ends, a lot of transdisciplinary learning will be very beneficial and could be both in the structured and project-based aspects of the course. Some specifics about curriculum are that dance and movement should be an integral part of the education, video and film are considered literacy, standards based assessment for grades PK – 10, and an odd little quirk, writing script; doesn't matter which language, it’s an enhancement on the way we communicate that activates students’ attention to both what and how they say it.
Clear goals and a plan. There are many options for changing education, many of which I agree with. But in my experience, there has not been sufficient commitment to an approach which I think reveals that schools are trying systems without adequately thinking about where they want their school to be in five and ten years. So, a long, careful approach to thinking about where the school wants to be and then applying systems to those ends. My ideal school would be one where students feel a sense of comradery and identification with the school, teachers, classmates, administration, and staff; where social and emotional learning is an important part of learning experiences, where skills, knowledge, and content are learned alongside application; and where physical health and cultural understanding is given the same kind of importance as academic development. Furthermore, a school should be lab, lots of action research, lots of time for teachers to plan and develop new ideas, and collaboration with universities that are developing teacher education programs. Also, writing script, did I mention that?
Well this is personal, but I like the four seasons, especially the cold in the winter, and the mountains, and the sea, and the forest, and the city. Does such a place exist? Not sure but really what is important is that the students and teachers work in a non-distracting place. Where there is access to culture and nature, and not isolated from some the harder aspects of being alive on this planet. A strong connection and understanding with the resources that go into making a school operate. To these ends, as paperless as possible, (paper is good for things like learning to write script.) Something I experienced when I worked at public school in China, is that the students are responsible for cleaning their classrooms, they straighten the desks, mop the floor, clean the chalkboard and I think this is a valuable relationship the students have with the physical space they occupy. Having a school garden perhaps. Facilities for the students to play different sports, record audio and film, and strong computers, with solar panels on the roof. Generally speaking, a place where the students feel ownership over where they spend most of the daylight hours, and they understand the implications of occupying a physical space.